We are members of the Orthodox Church who worship together in Nagoya. The Orthodox Church is the Christian community which has most faithfully maintained the unbroken tradition of the Ancient Church to the present. Orthodoxy was introduced to Japan by a Russian missionary, St. Nicholas, in the 1860’s. The Orthodox Christian community began to form in Nagoya in the 1870’s. After many relocations, the current church in the medieval Russian style was built in the Shōwa ward in January of 2010. Church services are normally held on Saturdays, Sundays, and Church Feast Days.
For the most up-to-date news and photo-reports check out our official Facebook page (in Japanese).
A sample of Nagoya Orthodox Church singing (Communion hymn, from Psalm 148):
Orthodox mission in Japan dates back to 1861, when the Russian hieromonk St. Nicholas (Kasatkin) arrived to these shores. The first Orthodox church was in Hakodate, but soon he transferred the mission headquarters to the Kanda district of Tokyo, where he built the famous Tokyo Resurrection cathedral (Nikorai-dō).
The first gatherings of Orthodox believers in Nagoya began in 1874, when the Annunciation Church was launched in Okeya-chō (near present-day Fushimi). In the last years of the 19th century the community purchased a plot of land in Fujitsuka-chō and moved there. During the Russo-Japanese War, when many Russian POWs were interned in Nagoya, our humble Japanese house church became their spiritual home. In 1913 a larger two-story church was built on the same spot, but it burned down during the aerial bombardment of World War II. After the war, the parish relocated to Yamahana-chō, Shōwa ward, where a temporary building was constructed in 1949, and then replaced by a larger structure in 1972. Gradually, the community outgrew that space, so that in 2006 we decided to acquire the current site in Yamawaki-chō and construct a dedicated Orthodox church. The consecration of the new church followed on January 11th, 2010.
The landmarks of Orthodox Christian architecture in Japan include the grand Tokyo Resurrection cathedral (Nikorai-dō) in the Russo-Byzantine style of the 19th century, and the elegant provincial churches designed by Fr. Moses Kawamura Izō – especially the ones in Toyohashi and Hakodate. The Nagoya church has introduced to Japan the medieval Russian style in which a system of vaults (three along the façade and four along the sides) supports a single drum with a large onion-dome. While the structure is made of reinforced concrete, the interior is coated with fine wood paneling and centered on a Byzantine-style choros-type ringed chandelier, creating a light and airy atmosphere.
Orthodox churches are dedicated to the Feast Days of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Theotokos Mary, or else bear the names of various saints. The designation of our church, which means “the appearance of God,” refers to the revelation of God as Holy Trinity that took place when Jesus Christ, God the Son, received baptism in the Jordan, God the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, and God the Father called Him “My beloved Son” (see Matt. 3:13-17).